Meet Brian Eugenio Herrera – New LAO Associated Faculty Member

Brian Eugenio Herrera is an assistant professor of theater in the Lewis Center for the Arts whose work examining the formation of gender, sexual and racial identities in and through U.S. popular performance has been published in many journals, including Theatre JournalModern Drama, and The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism. Also a performer, his autobiographical solo show, I Was the Voice of Democracy (http://iwasvod.org/) has been seen scores of times and in more than a dozen states since 2010.  It is next slated to be presented at the American University of Beirut in early 2013. Professor Herrera is currently at work on two book projects, Latin Explosion: Latinos, Racial Formation and Twentieth Century U.S. Popular Performance and Casting: A History.

At the end of October, Herrera will be delivering the keynote address in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the National Hispanic Cultural Center as part of “Recognizing New Mexico’s Theatrical Past, Present and Future: An Interactive Symposium.”  This symposium is a tour of how theatrical performances have been a part of the lives of New Mexicans for over 400 years.  Herrera’s keynote, “400 Years of New Mexico Theatre History,” charts the broad contours of four centuries of New Mexico’s performance history, beginning with the collision of Spanish liturgical drama and indigenous ritual practice in the sixteenth century and continuing all the way through to the rise of “Tamalewood” in the early twenty-first century.

This semester Professor Herrera is teaching THR 330 Special topics in Performance Practice–Casting: History, Theory and Practices.  This one of a kind course is related to his book project on casting.  During Spring 2012-2013, Professor Herrera will teach THR 331/LAO 331 Special Topics in Performance History and Theory: Playing Latino.  This course will examine how the pan-ethnic construction of Latina/o cultural identity was rehearsed in twentieth century U.S. popular performance. Students will consider a wide array of popular performances and assess the ways such performances have staged shifting perceptions and presumptions about Latinas/os in the United States and how those performances have contributed to broader discourses of race, identity, culture and nation. Topics will include: heritage performance, liturgical drama, stand-up comedy, television, and visual art, as well as literary drama, performance art, and activist teatro.